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Sinister music maestro Svengali can control the actions of women through hypnotism and his telepathic powers. When a pupil he has seduced announces she has left her husband for him, he uses his powers to cause her suicide and promptly forgets her. He meets a beautiful model, Trilby, and becomes infatuated with her, but she, in turn, falls for a young artist called Billee who also loves her. One day Svengali hypnotizes Trilby to cure her headache, but also examines her upper palate and decides it is an ideal cavity for great singing. He convinces her to fake her suicide, so Billee and friends will forget her, and goes on a singing tour with her. Svengali uses his powers to make her sing wonderfully and Madame Svengali, as Trilby is now known, becomes a sensation throughout Europe. But Billee discovers the ruse and begins to follow the pair, upsetting Svengali enough to have him cancel performances too frequently, so they no longer can perform in Europe. They go to Egypt, but Billee relentlessly follows
This movie is part of the collection: Sci-Fi / Horror
Director: Archie Mayo
Producer: Archie Mayo
Audio/Visual: sound, Black and white
Keywords: John Barrymore; horror; hypnotism; mind control
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Subject: Wonderfully Done
I echo all the comments so far about this film. It is masterfully done IMO. The one quality that stands out to me is the atmosphere and mood of each scene, and how it transitions. The sense of unease and other worldliness from the odd apartment house in England, to the unabashed luxury of a wonderfully adorned bedroom in Paris. John Barrymore (grandfather of Drew Barrymore) who plays the part of Svengali, spans from utter malignancy, to carelessly nonchalant, to tearfully heartbroken. Marian Marsh who plays Trilby is as wonderful in this as she is beautiful. This should definitely be in your must see list.
Subject: Lon Chaney not Cheney, You All
Title says it all.
B-T-W, the source novel, "Trilby", can be found at LibriVox and Project Gutenberg.
I also give this movie the highest rating.
Subject: It is a good read, too.
The book, Trilby, is well worth reading, too. It was written by du Maurier, not Daphne, but her grandfather, who was an actor and very handsome and popular, so much so that cigarettes were named after him.
The filmmaker has chosen to focus on the sinister Svengali, and the uncanny gets under your skin, and your are left wondering if is at all possible: to hypnotise a person to become your companion for life? You may see the story as a doppelganger story: Trilby acts out what Svengali has in mind.
Subject: kolaboy, he is referring to Lon Cheney..
Not Dick Cheney.
This is a phenomenal movie. Great acting, great story, cool cinematography. So worth the watch, and don't watch the 1983 remake with yucky Jodie Foster. She can't hold a candle to everything Marian Marsh brings to the character. John Barrymore is THE man. Amazingly good actor, and amusing to boot. And look at how HUGE the hallways are in those Paris studios. A definate classic.
Read more of my public domain movie reviews at:
JB at his finest, and not "Cheneyesque" (some can't put aside their rabid bias even in reviewing a film), but rather wonderfully (and charmingly) Machiavellian. Marian Marsh is possessed of an unearthly beauty....
Subject: First Rate
The narrative holds depth and inevitability. Goethe surely would have approved. Power and beauty meet--collision and destruction result. Though not clean shaven (nor bald) by a long shot, Svengali is Cheneyesque. Trilby is a magnificent victim. This is tragedy.